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(From Lognet 92/3. Used with the permission of The Loglan Institute, Inc. ,br. Please Note: The Crib Notes require a table-capable web browser.)

Hu Logla Sanpa Toi?
(How Do You Say This?)

by Bill Gober

Nepo Canjmi Ji Vi Ne Logle Barcu
(An encounter in a Loglandian pub)

It was the second day of summer and the first day of my self-guided tour of the capital of Loglandia. I decided that today I would avoid the new natural history museum, the great old church, and the splendid shopping district on Grada Trida. No, today I would just stroll about the city and experience it. So, equipped with sturdy new walking shoes, my flawless command of Loglan, and my Fodor's guide, I set out from my hotel.

My equipment failed me.

I hadn't broken in the walking shoes, so my feet soon were blistered.

My command of Loglan was anything but flawless: I was marked as an English speaker the moment I opened my mouth. Not to worry: my Loglan was perfectly adequate for buying lunch in a cafe or foot balm in a chemist's shop.

Following the Fodor's, or so I thought, I found myself in a warehouse district just as the sun was setting. The Fodor's was quite silent about this district, or how to get out of it; it did recommend that, late at night, one avoid the public transport in favour of cabs. Bloody hell: all I had to do was find a place where there was a telephone and I could safely wait for the cab. I set off toward the setting sun in search of such a place. Eight long blocks later, I found it. In a side street, a garish neon sign flashed LA BABÉL; in a window of the same building, a smaller neon sign advised: Hompi la Crano Telfoa. A pub. Probably a labourers' pub, given the location; probably a rough place. However, it was the first place I'd seen that looked inhabited; and I had set out to experience the city....

As I approached the pub, I saw a painted sign in its window: Le Rorlentaa Barcu pe la Ioséf. I, ui gesko mi, hoi Notgunpeu! A multilingual pub? foreigners welcome? here? Perhaps I wasn't in for a rough welcome, after all.

I went in. The place was an ill-lit hole. A few customers looked up at me, then returned to their drinks and conversation. The conversation did seem to be in several different languages.... I walked to the bar. The bartender--a slender, thoughtful-looking man with a neat, black beard--said, "Ui le pasnai. I mi bi la Ioséf. I tu hompi hu."

I replied, "La Crano Telfoa, eo." As he turned to pour my drink, I continued, "I hu sitfa ne telfo jio, eo mi plizo tei lepo frekra ne taksi."

He placed a pint-glass before me. "Letu birju, hoi Gleci Fremi. I bei braonu lio to."

I passed him a fiver. "Sia, ao klipu le stocme. I hu sitfa ne telfo."

He smiled as he took the money. "Mi mutce garti tu. I mi fa frekra lo taksi dii tu. I hapduo lepo tu vizgoi lemi barcu."

I took a sip of the beer--the weakest I'd tasted since my last visit to America--and looked for a table to sit at. The place was rather full, with no empty tables and few empty seats. One table had a lone occupant; I headed that way.

As I approached, I could see that the woman was here to drink, not to socialise: the bottle on the table was two-thirds empty, the table was covered with spills, and her hand shook as she poured herself another glass. I was turning to look for another seat when she said to me, "Skitu, hoi Dipri." Her voice didn't shake. When I hesitated, she pointed to the seat opposite her and said insistently, "Hoi Tun, skitu leva cersi." I sat down, careful not to set my pint on my worthless Fodor's. From this angle I could read the label on her bottle; as God is my witness, it said, LA VISRA RANCKO UISKI.

She began to speak, with a distinct slur: "Nao mi nu namci liu Cavles. I li Samanqas Cavles, lu. I, ai tu fu namci mi li Fum Cavles, lu.

"Nao mi nurpubli fekduvrai, e turka viu la Loglandias Garsic. I mi sifdui ba jio be dirlu ba vi levi sitci, ico be rardei petci tema braonu mi. Ibuo, oa mi na sifdui bo dii mi, ice bo djipai lepo Vai morto guo, e lepo mi bunbo. I, uo le cimra ga sackao lia tio."

The slurring made that a lot to digest--enough that I could have done with a bicarb. I gathered that she found lost money connected to dead people and fools at the start of summer--something like that. Then she looked at me and said: "Nao, buo no, levi vizgoi ga duodja lopo lentaa la Loglan." I started to protest that I did in fact know how to speak Loglan, but my tongue wasn't up to it; only a mumble came out of my mouth. She gave me a puzzled look. My Fodor's caught her eye, and she said, "I shee, you talk English. Pleashe forgive me that I continued to talk Loglan. The past vishitor such that I meet, met Vee, her, talksh good Loglan." She continued diffidently, "But thish doesh not help her. She now is dead."

The tongue was back in working order. "When did you see her last?"

"I met her on yeshterday. Something find, found her dead body on the past night, in one dark shtreet that is within the evil part of the city. In fact, the place is very near thish.... Something murdered her, and the police department thinks that I am something!"

"Rauhu le polsygru ga jupni tio." "Sho after all you talk Loglan!"

"Mi cmalo ia dui."

"Maybe not sho little. Anyway, many somethings remembered to shee us together, and they tell, told the police department. The vishitor and I arrived at the shtation by the shame train on yeshterday. She looked being lost, and I asked that I help her. I guided her to her hotel and out pointed somethings such that she should vishit them. We go, went into the hotel bar, and drink, drank wine, and talked to us about LaiGai--thish city, I mean."

I made a mental note not to ask her what sights to see in the city. In fact, I began wishing in earnest that the cab would arrive. "Tu pa kinci ba ji pafa nu tsimormao, inurau le polsi ga jupni lepo tu bi le tsimormao."

"I am no murdererer! But I am a fool. I should know, knew that something was not right, because she sayed that she is Dansk car operator licensed. But she talksh, uh, her talk manner--what is an English shign for siftaa?"

"Hmm. Oh, 'place-talk'. Lie gei, the accent, gei."

"Thank you. She hash the accent of the Settlement on Mars, not Danmark. She sayed that she will travel throughout Loglandia. I think that she is a shpy, and that other shpies, or criminals, killed her and blamed me."

"Ei ba ke smikatca, a tsikao, ki nemdi tu."

She laughed. "Many somethings are enemy of me, and some of the somethings are shpies or criminals. But which something killed her? I know only that she is dead and that I am a fool. When I dishcover the connection of thoshe two facts, maybe I will know who killed her.

"What is the connection?"

Just then I heard someone shout, "Ei ba pa frekra lo taksi." It was a cab driver, standing just inside the pub's entrance. I called back, "Mi dui. I pazda ne minta eo." I drank up my pint and said to Fum Cavles, "Oa mi na sackaa. I, ao tu sifdui le djipai."

"Thank you. Where do you now stay?"

I debated not saying; I decided I didn't believe in jinxes. "La Tarci Hotel."

Her whisky glass was full; she downed it in one gulp. "Ae la Gan, helba tu." Obviously, she believed in jinxes. I left to catch my cab.

I left the Fodor's guide in the pub.

Word List

"What's the connection?"

While we can't help Fum Cavles in her search for the nefarious scum who framed her, we can look for connections in another way: namely, by studying the Loglan connectives.

When Jim Smith suggested last winter that I write a column about connectives, my reaction was, "Connectives aren't a column -- they're a career!" I haven't changed my mind in the months since. A single column can't hope to cover the connectives adequately. What it can do is give you a single overview of them, along with some points to ponder--and crib notes.

The published materials describe the connectives piecemeal. In Loglan 1, they're discussed on the following pages: 137-140, 142-145, 152-155, 247-255, 347-354. In Notebook 3, look on these pages: 74-75, 76-77, 82-83, 85-86. The only real summary is on L1, pages 353-354. Go re-read that now, before we proceed with the column. Don't worry, I'll wait for you to come back.

Okay. There are four basic connectives, each a single-letter little word: a, e, o, u. Each is used to build four different types of connectives; for example, a, anoi, noa, noanoi. The four types of the four connectives are organized into four series, each used in a different context; these are the eks, sheks, eesheks, and keks. Four times four times four makes 64: Loglan has 64 connectives. (Which is different from 56. I'll explain the discrepancy in a moment.) Crib Note 1 lists all 64 in all their glory.

Notice that the keks for u are formed differently from the other keks. This is because u, unlike its three mates, isn't commutative. What I'm saying is that utterances with a, e, and o can be reversed without changing their truth, but this isn't so for utterances with u. For example, while Asi, a esi and Esi, a asi have the same truth value, Afi, u efi may have a different truth value from Efi, u afi.

Speaking of truth values, Crib Note 2 gives them for the eks. (The truth values are the same for the matching entry in the other three series.) Shown is just the first argument ("subject") of the sentence Sei, X tei pa mormao veo, which is short for Lo smikatca, X lo tsikao pa mormao la Vizgoi "Spies X criminals killed the Visitor", where X is an ek. For example, 6 is true only when sei is false and tei is true; we could translate this sentence Sei, noe tei pa mormao veo "(It was) Not spies, but criminals (who) killed her".

The truth table is fundamental to the correct use of the connectives. The word or phrase you start with in a natural language often will have several Loglan translations. Working the other way is also problematic: the connectives' translations into natural language are often awkward or misleading. (More on this later.) What you really need to do is decide which circumstances make your statement true, and which make it false; then pick the connective whose truth values match.

As an example, let's translate a 'toughie' from L1 "Only the brave deserve the fair." "Brave" is briga, "deserve the fair" is nurbarda lo bilti; so what connective to use? This statement is true if the brave are deserving, and if the non-brave are non-deserving; it is false if the non-brave are deserving, and if the brave are non-deserving. This gives us two choices, o and noonoi; I choose the shorter, and decide to use a kek, which gives Ba ko briga, ki nurbarda lo bilti "Someone, if and only if brave, deserves the beautiful".

Trust me: As you use the connectives, picking the correct one becomes second nature.

Now I can explain how I got 64 connectives (16 types), while Professor Brown got 56 (14 types). O and noonoi have the same truth values, as do onoi and noo; it was decided to keep just o and onoi, and to eliminate the other two. (This is a recent innovation: the 1975 dictionary has all four.) Some people have argued for allowing noo and noonoi on two grounds: (1) since they're formed regularly, people will form and use them, anyway, and others will understand them; and (2) sometimes the alternate may be preferable stylistically. E.g., Ba konoi briga, kinoi nurbarda lo bilti has the same truth value as the earlier sentence, but its emphasis is different: "Who is not brave, does not deserve the fair".

Connectives discuss correlations, not causations or entailments. Ba ko briga, ki nurbarda lo bilti does not say that bravery causes (or justifies, or entails) one to be deserving; or vice versa, for that matter. It just observes that the two go together, are connected, in the way that the connective specifies. If you mean to say that one thing causes another, in Loglan you have say it explicitly: Ba briga, ikou ba nurbarda lo bilti "Some-x is brave, because some-x deserves the fair."

It's later, and time to discuss the problems in picking a Loglan connective based on the natural language word.

(Nefi) The English word if maps onto two different types of Loglan connectives, anoi and o. Consider the English, "If you build it, he will come." If I don't build it, will he come or not? This sentence doesn't specify. In Loglan, the connective we choose removes all doubt. Kanoi tu balci da, ki de fa kamla allows for the possibility that de might come anyway; Ko tu balci da, ki de fa kamla says that de won't come unless da is built. (See L1, pp. 321-322 for the utterance sequencers with -fi.)

(Tofi) English or maps onto two Loglan words, a and onoi. Consider "Stop or I'll shoot!" If for this I say, Stise, ica mi renblo tu, I'm committing myself to shoot you if you don't stop; but if you stop and I shoot you, I haven't broken my word. If I say, Stise, iconoi mi renblo tu, then I'm committing myself to shoot you if and only if you don't stop.

(Tefi) Consider this common construction: Action-X, and Action-Y. For example, "Smile, and I'll kiss you." This has the literal translation Crano, ice mi skesa tu. If you don't smile, this statement is false! This state of affairs may be satisfactory: if you don't smile, it doesn't matter (to me, at least) what I do. However, usually there are clearer ways of expressing your sentiments:

(Asifi) You can use an 'if' construction: Crano, ico mi skesa tu or Crano, inoca mi skesa tu.

(Beifi) You can also use a causal operator: Crano, inumoi mi skesa tu "Smile, and therefore I'll be motivated to kiss you". Note that this doesn't say what I'll do if you don't smile; but it's not false if you don't smile.

(Ceifi) You can use sequencing: Crano, ifa, ai mi skesa tu "Smile, then I plan to kiss you." This works well for narratives, i.e., where there's a clear sequence of events. "We'll order the drinks, and we'll drink them at the table" Mu suirbeo le hompiu, ifa, mu hompi hei vi le tobme. (Suirbeo "send-ask", hompiu "drink-portion").

And now, for the problems of translating the Loglan connectives into English. Fum Cavles wondered "What is the connection?" Crib Note 3 gives all sixteen different types of connectives, showing the equivalent eeshek and kek side by side, with an English translation for each. Notice the problems in the English. Most of the translations are bulky; many are strained; a few aren't quite accurate. I've starred the translation of two keks; in these cases, English simply doesn't have any forethought form, even a strained one.

Crib Note 3 is intended to help you grasp what the Loglan connectives mean. It's not to replace Crib Note 2, or experience in using the connectives.

That's it for this time. In the next issue, I explore how to express the English 'a/an' in Loglan, in a column tentatively titled, "Lo, it's an indefinite article."

"Ei levi sitfa bi la Gadhaa."

"No. I sei bi la Loglandias."

Copyright 1992 by The Loglan Institute, Inc. All rights reserved.

Last modified September 3, 1996 (to fix a minor error).

Send comments and corrections to:

djeimz AT megaseattle DOT com